5 trends which will define collaboration in 2020

In recent years, there has been a dramatic change in the workplace; amongst the workforce, in our workstyle, and in our workspace. And this revolution is only set to accelerate, with technology continuing to be a hugely disruptive force to the everyday meeting experience.

This is according to global technology firm, Barco ClickShare, which has revealed five of the most prominent trends set to impact collaboration in the workplace in 2020. The company has developed unique insights into the key drivers of change to the workplace environment in 2020 and beyond, thanks in large to its recently commissioned pan-European study, which looked specifically at the future of communication for the “modern day” workforce.

The past few years have seen an explosion of meeting room technology. The survey highlights the fact that most (72%) respondents agree that meetings have drastically improved from five years ago. But it also emphasises that emerging technology will continue to dramatically disrupt the ‘typical’ meeting experience. Analysing this landscape of changeability, Barco ClickShare has highlighted five trends which stand out as those which will dominate in 2020. These include:

1)The end of the generational divide

The generational divide we’ve seen previously with corporate technology is rapidly disappearing. 74% of people of all ages are now confident with technology, with 86% stating that they prefer meetings that embrace technology. 2020 will finally see the end of the stereotype of the “technophobic older generation” as new technologies play an increasing role in workplace communication and collaboration for all employees, from Generation Z to Baby Boomers. Organisations need to factor this in when developing workplace technology strategies and ensure they communicate to employees in a clear and consistent way.

2)Video and AI technologies to become the standard

The futuristic vision of corporate environments controlled by interconnected Internet of Things devices is becoming the reality for many large corporations, and Barco ClickShare’s research suggests white-collar professionals think this is only going to accelerate. Of the 1,509 employees we surveyed:

•Over three quarters (77%) stated that video will be standard in meetings within the next three years
•83% want to see voice recognition in meetings within the next two years.
•81% want video filters (like those available on apps like Instagram) to feature in meetings within the next two years.
•Nearly a third (30%) want to see the use of hand gestures to control technology in meeting rooms, with 80% of those wanting it in the next two years.

Employees now expect technology in the workplace to keep pace with the consumer technology they are used to. Organisations need to keep pace with change and establish intuitive, experience-enhancing solutions that will wow their workforce, or face disengagement and impacted productivity.

3)Employees want a new reality

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) solutions have not yet found their way into most corporate meeting rooms. But according to Barco ClickShare’s study, many employees can see significant potential for these technologies in the day-to-day workplace and want to see investment in their use. Most in-demand is the ability to use AR technology to overlay information onto visual content in real-time – bringing the technology which made apps like Pokémon Go so popular, into the office environment – something which 65% of respondents would like to see introduced. In a commercial sense, this could enable, for example, an architect to literally bring their plans to life in a meeting, augmenting a computer-generated building, long before the first foundation has been laid. Utilising VR technology to meet via interactive virtual spaces was also a popular idea, with 81% of employees expecting this to be made available in the next three years. The technology is still nascent, but organisations should be thinking about what they could bring to the workplace in future – the future’s closer than they might think.

4)Remote working will continue to proliferate

The number of remote workers has increased 115% over the course of the last decade, and this trend is set to continue to accelerate in 2020. According to Barco ClickShare’s research, over half (53%) of meetings currently involve attendees who join remotely, with three quarters (74%) of those surveyed stating that they predict an increase in remote attendee-only meetings over the next three years. For remote collaboration to succeed, participants must still be able to interact with each other in the same way as they would in a face-to-face scenario. Organisations will have their work cut out for them when it comes to implementing the correct IT infrastructure.

This will be vital to ensuring they have the correct technology in place to allow employees to collaborate efficiently and effectively from wherever they are.

5)Prepare for a Bring Your Own Meeting (BYOM) future

The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) market has exploded, set to hit almost $637 billion by 2022. Now, we are entering the next phase of the BYOD trend, where employees will expect to not only join meetings from their personal devices, but host them using their personally preferred conferencing solution, rather than their organisation’s ‘official’ corporate service. The rise of Bring Your Own Meeting his is reflected in the responses of Barco ClickShare’s survey participants – 71% of whom stated they can already choose which conferencing solutions they use in meetings. Allowing workers to choose their own conferencing solution, as well as bring their own device, will allow organisations to better address the different dimensions of an effective digital workplace strategy, enabling an increasingly diverse workforce, from intern to contractor, to collaborate and contribute just as much as regular employees.

Lieven Bertier, Segment Director, Workplace, Barco ClickShare: “Barco ClickShare is witnessing first-hand how technological trends like VR, AR and voice recognition are transforming the AV and meeting room technology industry. In this regard, we are uniquely positioned to offer insight into the changing landscape of the meeting room experience, where technology is bringing the promise of better and smarter collaboration in meeting room and conferencing scenarios. Our findings are clear. Technology has already enhanced the meeting room experience, and will continue to revolutionise meetings in the future. As 2019 comes to a close, and we look ahead to 2020, this pace of change is only set to accelerate. Corporations should act now to ensure their meeting room equipment is capable of sustaining changing employee expectations and demands and, therefore, increasing productivity, collaboration and the overall workplace experience.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine